Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hit by Computer Programs

I am constantly asked to prepare patent specifications for computer program. Our patent regulations follow the EPO's recommendation which allows computer programs to be patentable if it achieves a technical effect. I refer the US MPEP for computer program and it has a detailed explanation and classification showing the type of computer programs which are patentable. Allow me to summarize my interpretation in my own words. A computer program is patentable if it describes an UNKNOWN process to solve a technical problem. I highlight the UNKNOWN to my clients because computer programs are usually written with known process. The act of turning a known manual process into a software does not make the computer program patentable. For example, known mathematical models turned into software are not patentable even if it solves a problem. However, if an UNKNOWN model is disclosed than the process will be patentable. A classic patent for computer programs will be Dell's patent which enable online ordering of customized personal computer.